ABOUT THE FAIR HEARING PROJECT

One of the biggest barriers to the performance and programming of works by underrepresented composer groups (read: everyone who isn't a white European male) is that very few conductors actually have taken the time to study and learn them. Certainly, we can go and listen to these pieces; we can even go check out a score from our local library, pull it up on IMSLP (if they even have it), or watch one of those convenient score-scrolling YouTube videos. But we usually stop short of gathering quite enough information to know whether and how we would like to program a piece.

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Smyth: Overture to The Wreckers

At some point--particularly recently, with the discussion of the programming at a certain A-list cultural institution--those of us with an ear to the ground have heard the name of Dame Ethel Smyth and her 1902 grand opera, The Wreckers. It helps that Leon Botstein and the American Symphony gave the American premiere of the work in 2007 (which is just past the centennial of its world premiere of 1906), so even ten years later the notes are fading in the air. As I am a big fan of working on opera, I decided this would be a good place to start the Fair Hearing Project.

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